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tv   Tavis Smiley  WHUT  May 4, 2011 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. first stop a conversation with tim flannery. he is one of the leading experts on the subject of climate change and natural history. he was recently named to head the australian climate change commission. also a conversation with franck legend -- funk legend bootsy collins. he is out with a new project called "tha funk capital of the world." >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes.
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>> to everyone making a difference -- >> thank you.>> y houelp aus>> you help us all live bet. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nationwide insurance is happy to help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time.ivnation. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: is a work -- tim flannery is a renowned scientist come explore, and author. his work is called "here on
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earth." you close the book with a line that got my attention. "i am certain of one thing, if we do not strive to love one another and love our planet as much as we love ourselves, then no further human progress is possible here on earth." what does love have to do with it? >> love is an integral part of us. this bonds us together. this is a result of the evolutionary process. this is integral to our ability to cooperate. this is not his love for each other, but love of country, for our planet, our environment. if we don't have that glove, i don't think we will be able to motivated to do the right thing. -- of we don't have that love. tavis: you mentioned about loving the planet as much as
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ourselves. expand on that. >> we depend on the earth for everything. we need to be very aware of that relationship and treat the planet as we put our body. the skin is a permeable membrane. many things from the plan to go into our body. we need to live in a clean and healthy environment. >> that' tavis: does the evidence suggests that we're taking this seriously or regressing? >> i think that we're making progress. there are many things that we could be doing. following the copenhagen meeting in 2009, the countries signed up for the copenhagen the court made various promises. you have reduced york greenhouse gases by 9%.
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that is a great start. -- you have reduced your greenhouse gases. this is supported by both sides, particularly when it comes to energy security. tavis: how are other major polluters responding to this challenge? >> china is doing well. they probably have the most aggressive program of anywhere. they are on track to stabilize their missions and this will be reducing towards the decade. it used to be that they were building a coal fired power plant every week. now they are stopping. there is a new carbon tax on carbon in the country. >> tavis: how does a natural history of the planet help us wrestle with the challenges that we face it? >> nothing is changed in terms
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of our dependency on planet earth. the mechanism that gave us life 4 billion years ago, in order to really understand our impact on it and then to start doing the right thing. people ask me questions like how -- what are our chances of overcoming the climate change? the only way i could do this was to go back to the beginning and look at the evolutionary process. we need look at what needs to be done and where we go from here. tavis: you talk about the super organism and the global organism. >> a super organism is really a civilization, if you want. a great scientist said that ants and humans have one thing in common, we have bill civilization without reason.
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we have a super organism where each individual becomes ever more dependent upon one another. they are ever more in contact with another. you can see the result of that are around the world. that is a super organism, where the board is become very super dependent. each becomes less a thomas because we depend on each other. -- very dependent. that is a super organism. each becomes less autonomous because we depend on each other. in the middle, all of the process occur that keeps the planet habitable for lice. that is the life system itself. -- all of the processes that occur keep the planet habitable for life. as we destroy life, we destroy
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the capacity of the global organism needed to maintain what we require. tavis: you make a link between poverty and getting a handle on climate change. make that link for me. >> if you are poor, you can imagine what it is like to just find food for the day. will you think about a long-term future? poverty is the enemy of a longer-term security of the civilization. it really is. there is no way that we can insulate from this. we are all part of this great global super organism now. not only in this country but across the planet. if we allow poverty to persist, what do we expect of people who will destroy the commonwealth of us? they will harvest the last fish, they will promote socially disruptive means to get what
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they need. we have to give people something to use it. that is the most important thing. on top of that, the growing population problem. the only way we will solve that is by giving women in the poorest countries and education and to increase the standard of living because that is how we see families reduce. tavis: anybody other than you understands these things. is there any one of authority -- do presidents, leaders, heads of state, is there any evidence that they understand the link on how the poor are treated, how women are treated, the future of our planet? >> i spent three years in the copenhagen process and there are many of us out there. there are good ones, bad ones. people understand. the leaders will only do what they are licensed to do from
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their people. it is the people that need to change. we need to understand that we're not alone in this. this is not a survival of the fittest world. this is a world where cooperation determines who will survive and who will not. that is why i wrote the book. i think if we have the right sort of ideas about a certain generosity of spirit, working together, we can do anything. if we don't, we will fail individually. tavis: your point about the survival of the fittest, have we misinterpreted darman's notion? >> very profoundly, yes. -- have we misinterpreted darwin's notion? >> very poor family, yes. in 19th century, the used car went to testify the unjustifiable. -- they used darwin to justify
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the unjustifiable. this is not the sort of world that i see around me. the world i see is immensely quarters. even our own human bodies are made of thousands of species of bacteria and fungus. they need to be there to keep me alive. we are a system a planetary complexity. that operation runs from my skin to the forests, to our great global super organism that is forming. that is what the legacy of evolution is. the survival of the fittest world, no one can survive. imagine a football team, you would have a winner at the end of the year but would not have a competition anymore. tavis: what is the reason to be hopeful? what is the reason to believe? >> evolution has given us the
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great apathy with each other and the great ability to communicate with each other and work together. -- abolition has given us great -- evolution has given us great empathy. every step along the way has come at great cost and sacrifice in terms of trying to create this cooperative empathy. we need hope to take up that challenge. tavis: the new book is called "here on earth, a natural history on the planet." upext, but see collins -- up next, bootsy collins, stay with us. please welcome bootsy collins to this program. he is a member of the rock and roll hall of fame for his work with james brown and also his
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work with parliament/funkadelic. he has a new cd out. the disk is called "tha funk capital of the world." some of the behind the scenes in the making of "tha funk capital of the world." >> i think a lot about the music. some of what you hear on this record he would not hear. all kinds of different concepts. music is the universal common language. the people are the ones that put the titles on it. we will disband those titles for a minute and just listen to the music. tavis: it is there anyone who is not on this record?
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>> at thank you for having me. tavis: how did you end up? everyone on the planet. this is the font capital of the world. -- funk capital of the world. snoop, bobbie womack, bela fleck, chuck d, and that is not even half of them. this is a wonderful tribute that they wanted to appear on your stuff. >> this was a town home meeting of the minds and souls to just have people like dr. west, reverend al sharpton, samuel l. jackson.
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these people are really not noticed as musicians, artists. what i wanted to do was to have a musical biography of people that i looked up to. where i get my funk from. the people that encourage me and inspire me. the people who really brought me through. i was having really tough times. these voices. where are these voices? wanted to make sure that these voices showed up today because we need to these voices more now than ever. tavis: how do they do when they get in the studio with bootsy collins? how did they do when you pick up the base? >> they just at the full -- act the fool. no pockets of resistance.
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everyone wanted to be on this record. it was amazing to me. the real shocking thing for me was to see dr. west come in the studio. we were laughing, talking, and everything and he asked me what the concept was. i told him. everyone has smart phones but they're still making some decisions. he said, hold it. he went to the microphone, right off of the top. it reminded me, we used to walk in the studio and we would just record. calledthere's a track "free-dumb." where'd you come up with concepts like this? >> well, they just come in. for me, it has always been the
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play on words. i learned that in the streets. tavis: growing up in cincinnati. >> yeah. yeah. we just loved a part of going on around a bush and saying what you wanted to say making it like an extravaganza. is he really talking about this or that? that to me is an art form. to see people have different opinions on what is he talking about. tavis: what is the message behind the song is what? >> the messages that we have all of the smart phones and we are making some decisions. the smart phones are smarter than us. why is that? it should not be like that. we are supposed to be the smartest. we are making some dumb decisions that don't make no kind of sense.
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tavis: we are free to be dumb. >> and dumber. it is our choice. we don't have to be like that. dr. west came through and let everyone know, you don't have to be like that. tavis: you have a wonderful tribute to your man, the godfather, james brown. i loved the story. you have to know that anyone playing with james brown was never good enough. you have to get it on the one. tell the story about the night he told you over to the side. >> he would kind of do that every night. this one particular kind of night, he came up with the one rap. he had his talmudic all over his
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leg and blood coming off of his knees. -- he had his towel all over his like. we know that they killed him. those people are laying in the aisle and they are all dead. he called us back there and said, i tell you, you ain't got the one. you did not give it to me. we looked at each other like, what is he talking about. he keeps calling us back in there with the same rap about how we did not do it. [imitating james brown] play what you are feeling, love with you are feeling, but give me that one. every time i give you that thing, one. you bring it down on one.
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[normal voice] if you listen to the record, we are giving it to him on the one. that is the one he taught me. ever since he gave me that, it looked my bass playing up. i was forced into plain base because i wanted to play with my brother catfish and i wanted to play with him. in order to pay with him, i had to switch my guitar into a base. tavis: what was that line about deal and -- about heel and toe? >> if you orh not alleel and toe, you have to go. tavis: you started on guitar.
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you had to work your way into bass. proficient is an insult. you're one of the coldest cats. how did that happen? >> i don't even know. i had this unstoppable drive and nothing was going to stop me from doing this music. makingnot a dry's about all of the money in the world or about being famous. -- it was not a drive about making all the money. this was about getting my mother up off of the floor and clean these houses. getting her up out of the ghetto. my brother, played with him. those are the two things that drove me to just play this music. i did not know when it was going to happen or where but i knew it had to be done. tavis: cincinnati has produced
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some great artists. and we think of cities we think of detroit, memphis. what was the music scene in cincinnati? >> kim records was the spot. that is the melting pot. -- king records was the spot. james brown was the kingpin of that one. you had hank ballard, the it is the brothers. all these people are reporting their at king records. -- all these people recording their at king records. we did not have a chance. it was like, hanging around just to see them. we got an opportunity. one of the guys came over to the club and wanted to hear us.
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studio band. he took us over to king records. we knew that once we got in there, it is on. tavis: you mentioned about what you learned from james brown. what did you take away from hanging out with george clint t? what did you learn from that? we know what you brought to the party. he could not have made it without you. what did you learn from a guy like george clinton? >> towards clinton actually extended everything i thought in the first place. dodge george -- george clinton actually extended everything i thought. there are no walls behind the sky. he gave me a belief in myself that i needed. as a young man, coming up without a father and a home, he
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gave me the freed to experiment with melf, nt with my music. like, right there, he kind of said go ahead and do it. if you wanted to it, go ahead and do it. he opened up the door for me and let me do it. he trusted me. anyone that trusted you back in the day with their worth, we called our drugs our works. anyone who trust you with that, trust you with their life. tavis: how did you survive? drugs took out some repeople. you had your own issues. you are still here and putting it up. you were still doing this thing and you survived. >> basically, all my mama's prayers, all of my fans, they
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were praying for me and open that i uphold through. -- and hoping that i pulled through. also hoping that i learned something from it and put an action to it. we learned a lot but the action we don't put it behind those things that we learned and we continue to make the same mistakes. i think that is where i grew. tavis: i am glad you are here. how is my favorite restaurant in cincinnati? >> we are still kicking. we are looking forward to taking it even further. we are going to open it all the way up. tavis: if you are in cincinnati, there is a great restaurant called bootsy's. trust me, this is funky. this is the new cd, "tha funk
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capital of the world." >> we are into the second semester of funk university. this is funk university.com. [laughter] tavis: that is our show for tonight. . next time, keep the faith. -- until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, followed tavis smiley on pbs.org. tavis: debate on continued action in afghanistan.
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>> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a -fference- >> thank you. >> you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. natis wi ionde your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television]
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